Posted by Ancestry Team on January 31, 2012 in Website

Record images are the foundation of your family history, and we want to create a rich viewing experience that will bring these historical documents to life. The new Interactive Image Viewer (currently in beta) includes interactive tools to help you view and interpret the information on the record as well as navigation controls that make it easy to focus on the part of the image you’re interested in. The Interactive Image Viewer is a work in progress; we are still adding new features and functionality. We value your suggestions for improving the viewer.

Where can you try it out?

This beta viewer is available for the following censuses:

You can access the interactive image beta viewer from the record page by clicking on “View Interactive Image (BETA).”

How can you send feedback?

Please use the “Send comments” link at the top of the viewer.

What’s new?

Family Highlights

Highlights help you find people quickly by automatically highlighting the entire household.  This is most useful when there are multiple families on one image.

  • Yellow highlight – Whether you selected someone from your tree or searched for someone new, that person is highlighted in yellow when viewing his or her record in the Interactive Image Viewer.
  • Green highlight – If the person that is highlighted in yellow is in a household that has any other members, the other members of the household are highlighted in green.
  • Orange highlight – An orange highlight is placed on any row that is not already highlighted in green or yellow when your mouse hovers over that row. This will only show up when there are multiple families in a household.

Informative Tips

By hovering over various cells, you can see a transcription of that cell and learn more about the facts in the record. Simply hover your mouse over an element of the record and a text tip appears.

Name Label Overlay
When you zoom in on an image, names labels will appear on the left side of the viewer so you can see exactly whose information you’re viewing.

Moving the image

The new image viewer has many features that are similar to the Advanced Image Viewer many of you are already using.  We’ve also added some new features.

  • Click and Drag – Click anywhere on the image, hold down your mouse button, and drag your mouse in the direction that you wish to pan the image.
  • Onscreen Controls – Use the arrow buttons to pan the image left, right, up, or down.  Additionally, you can use the magnifying glass buttons at the top of the onscreen controls or the slider at the bottom of the onscreen controls to zoom in or out of the image.
  • Keyboard Controls – Use the arrow keys on your keyboard.  This will enable you to pan left, right, up, or down.  You may also use the “+” or “-” keys on your keyboard to zoom in or out.  Press the “Home” key to move your current view to the far left of the current image.  Press the “End” key to move your current view to the far right of the current image.  Press the “Page Up” key to move to the top of the current image.  Press the “Page Down” key to move to the bottom of the current image.
  • Mouse Wheel Zoom – If your mouse has a mouse wheel, you can use it to zoom in or out of the image.

    Actions Menu

    Use the Actions menu to print, view record source, remove highlighting, and more.  Please note that this interactive image viewer is still in beta and some of the features you may be used to seeing are not available yet.

    Print – Print the image or the current view.

    • View highlighting – By default, household highlights are displayed on the image.  Select this menu item to disable household highlights.
    • View source – Select this menu item to open the source panel and learn which organization provided the image.

    We have also added some new options under the “Image controls” section of the actions menu.

    • Rotate Clockwise and Rotate CounterClockwise – These menu items will rotate the image by 90 degrees in either the clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
    • Flip Horizontally and Flip Vertically – These menu items will flip the image.
    • Invert Colors – This option will reverse the colors of the image (black becomes white, white becomes black).  In some cases, this will improve the readability of the image.
    • Increase and Decrease Contrast – Use the increase or decrease contrast menu items to improve the contrast on the image.

    What features are coming soon?

    • Index panel – See a transcription of the key fields underneath the image.
    • Change locations by browsing – Change the focus of your browsing by selecting a new location directly from the image browse path.
    • Improvements to save to tree – Saving to tree is available but the features which recognize whether you have come from a hint or if you have already saved this image are not implemented yet.
    • Comments and corrections – We will add the ability to provide comments and corrections soon. We value all of your additions to our records.
    • Sharing – Sharing the image via email, Facebook, or Twitter is coming soon.

    Thank you for your input and suggestions on the beta version of the interactive image viewer.   We will be making many updates to this viewer in the upcoming weeks to add more new features and the other “coming soon” features listed above.


    1. Rhonda

      It looks good, but with the records that, how should I put this, have been cleaned up to look good, and only made them next to impossible to read now, this is not going to help in any way to improve the reading of them. If those that were cleaned up were put back to orginal it would help alot. The last two weeks I have been looking at Sweden church records that made me cry, because they were unreadable. Evey little speckle on a record can deterime many things. Is there any hope of getting those records restored back to how they were?

    2. Jeff Jahn

      I know the highlight ability seems nice at first glance but frankly isnt all that useful unless you save a image for each household. In my case of the 15 households list on page all maybe related to me. Also while playing with the beta of the view i noticed the save image option wont work for me had to go back to the old enhanced viewer instead of the beta.

    3. from roots tech 2012 Barbara Renick 11 layers of online search. did a “find on Page” where in the search results it showed the township highlighted to make it easier to scroll through on the 1870 census for Jobin vs Tobin
      How do I do that I looked through the learning center and could not find it.
      Bonnie York

    4. Laura Dansbury

      Jeff Jahn,
      What happened when you tried to save an image?

      The highlights are available on all the 3 UK censuses below when you click on the beta link from the record page. You may need to clear your cookies to see the beta link on the record page. The beta link is also available on a small percent of 1930 US Census records.

      1911 Channel Islands Census
      1911 Wales Census
      1911 Isle of Man Census

    5. Mike Fisher

      I search and find using the link for 1911 census Wales in firefox and get no image loaded but I do using IE , is it a flash item ?

    6. Jeff Jahn

      “Laura Dansbury February 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm
      Jeff Jahn, What happened when you tried to save an image?”

      Laura i get a HTTP 403 Forbidden message “This website declined to show this webpage” when using the Advanced Image Viewer. I have to use the Old one to save a image.

    7. Laura Dansbury

      Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for letting us know. Can you email me with more details? Browser, operating system, URL of the page you are trying to save?

      ldansbury at ancestry dot com.

      thank you,

    8. Laura Dansbury


      The “View Interactive Image (BETA)” link is now available on all 1930 US Federal Census record pages on If you can’t see the link, you may need to delete your cookies.

      thank you,

    Comments are closed.